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By Chef Todd

Summer Demands an Easy Baked Stuffed Clam Recipe

When I go clam digging and I am as successful as I was on this particular trip, my favorite clam recipe to cook is baked stuffed clams. Today, I'm going to share how I create this fantastic dish!

Knife Skills
First and foremost, all of the clams need to be cut into small
, yet uniformly sized pieces. While you are chopping the clams, it's good to keep a watchful eye out for pieces of shell. You may also feel these unwanted pieces with your hands.

Into the Pan
Calling on your knowledge of basic sauté method
is what you'll need to do next starting with melting butter into your pan. For the best baked stuffed clams, make sure that you control the heat so your melted butter isn't allowed to brown in the pan. Once melted, add your chopped clams.

After a few moments, the clams you brought home from your clam digging expedition will release much of the moisture that they have and begin to poach in their own liquid. Watch your temperature to ensure that the clams don't boil or simmer, but continue to poach.

The Thickener
Add enough Panko bread crumbs to soak up some of the liquid
as well as a heaping mound of Parmesan cheese. Stir all of the ingredients together and taste it to ensure that you have the correct seasoning in place. Now, your clam recipe is starting to take form!

I like to add basil and oregano, but it doesn't mean that you have to.
Make sure that you season your clams to your sense of taste. After the seasoning is just right, I like to add a large quantity of fresh chopped parsley to give it a fresh aromatic flavor.

The Half Shell
Set up some half shells on a sheet pan for your baked stuffed clams
and use a portion scoop to get the same quantity of clam mixture out of your bowl and into the clam shells. Using a portion scoop will ensure that your clam recipe cooks consistently for each clam shell.

From my clam digging adventure, I ended up using 120 raw clams
for my clam recipe which yielded a total of 40 baked stuffed clams. That's 3 whole clams for each baked clam.

The next time you go clam digging, remember that the most flavorful dishes that you cook are made from the freshest ingredients and the simplest cooking methods. I hope that your clam recipe for baked stuffed clams turns out just as flavorful as mine.

Related Posts:
You Need to Dig Deep for a Fresh Clam Recipe
Why Does This Chef Want You To Know His Chef Secrets?

By Chef Todd

The Best Homemade Pizza Recipe Delivered in 7 minutes or It’s Free!

I'm back from Sunburst Tomato Farm in Momeyer, North Carolina. What a great trip! While I was learning about growing tomatoes in the winter, I was thinking about making a homemade pizza recipe to add to my cooking classes. But then, I thought, what does the local tomato farmer like to make with his fresh tomatoes?

Tim Bass of Sunburst Tomatoes says he prefers the raw, natural flavor of his tomatoes in a Tomato Sandwich, “two slices of bread, some mayonnaise and a slice of tomato” is his favorite homemade tomato recipe.

Well, that might suit the tomato farmer, but Tim sent me home with a sack full of quality tomatoes and all I can think about is a homemade pizza recipe that I simply call “tomato pie”. I don't use pizza sauce. No, instead, I use sliced tomatoes. But I'm jumping ahead in this cooking class, let's start with the crust.

This is my tried and true basic homemade pizza dough recipe: 18 ounces flour, 10 ounces water, 2 teaspoons of yeast. This will be the basis for the pizza crust that will then complete the standard 10 step yeast dough process.

You want to take time mixing the ingredients together, because you want for gluten to develop in the process. Moisture and agitation develop gluten which will help to develop that wonderful chewy crust that we've all come to expect and love in our pizza. After the pizza dough is mixed, you need to allow it to ferment until it doubles in size. At this point, knock all of the air out of the dough and allow it to rise again. Now, the homemade pizza crust starts to take form. Using a rolling pin and a thick marble* slab, flatten the dough to create the pizza crust.

*(Marble is a wonderful medium to use when you are dealing with dough or pastry because the thickness of the slab helps to keep the temperature consistently cool to create a better product.)

I like to use a pizza peel to get my pizza in the oven. I put a little bit of corn meal on the peel to help with the flavor as well as making it easier to get the pizza off of the peel when I'm ready to put it into the oven. Once the homemade pizza crust is on the peel, I like to go around the edge of the pizza crust folding over the edge to form the outer edge of the pizza. Also, brush on a little olive oil to ensure a nice brown crust and I like to add some freshly cut garlic as well.

Let's keep moving along in this cooking class...
Instead of a tomato sauce recipe, thinly sliced tomatoes will form the foundation of the tomato pie recipe, and this homemade pizza goes in the oven, on top of heated stones.

What? Only tomatoes on the homemade pizza?
No, I want more ingredients, but the tomatoes take longer to cook! Only after the tomatoes have cooked is the cheese and basil added. Basil is too delicate to allow it to bake for the same time as the tomatoes, so it’s added at the very end in a fancy French knife skill called “chiffonade”.

The best homemade pizza recipe is the one that uses the freshest, best ingredients, like tomatoes from your local farmer. The homemade pizza that you create will have much more flavor, nutrition and sense of pride that you made it. Not only that, it will be better for you as well. I hope you've enjoyed this cooking class, now go make a pizza!!

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By Chef Todd

Best Chili for your Tailgate Party

It takes a long time to cook chili and develop the flavor to make it the best chili. So, the best chili for your tailgate party must be made ahead of time, in the kitchen and kept warm through game time. I shared my brick-solid secret for keeping foods warm earlier this week. Now, I want to share a few ideas on WHAT we're keeping warm, my favorite chili recipe.

Your expression of chili shouldn't have a recipe. Your best chili should be the chili recipe that comes from your imagination and favorite combination of ingredients. It's a fantastic opportunity to use basic cooking methods and create something that has no rules.

I advise people who want to learn to cook to start with something like soup, stew, or chili. This is where there's great freedom to explore different ingredients while using basic cooking methods.

A great chili recipe starts like a saute procedure, with a hot pan and some fat to conduct the heat.
The protein product you choose doesn't have to be ground beef. In today's video, I create a filet mignon chili, using the scraps from a whole tenderloin we cleaned in a previous lesson at WebCookingClasses. Rather than beef, you can choose chicken, turkey, roasted vegetables, even shrimp or lobster chili.

The best savory flavors in chili are combined during the initial saute. Here's where the rendered fat from your protein product combines with the onions, garlic, peppers, or dried herbs you choose. A deglazing liquid is needed then needed to add texture, only to evaporate most of it, leaving its flavors behind.

Your chili recipe is now ready for a long, low, and slow simmer
to tenderize, reduce, and combine flavors. Here's the time to let your chili breathe. Don't cover your chili pot unless you want to steam rather than reduce.

To bean or not to bean? You can debate whether the best chili recipe contains beans or not. This divides all people in their expression of a personal best chili. The important part is to learn to cook with basic methods and instill your personal desires to make the best chili recipe you've ever had.

Yesterday's post from the parking lot:
Beer Shrimp Scampi

Football Food for Your Tailgate Party

When you BBQ Grill, are you using the
Great Male Excuse?
(Burned outdoors is no better than burned indoors)

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The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.

By Chef Todd

Worst Cooks in America, Ep 4

The Flavors in Jennifer Cross' Head Saved Her Butt

Thank you, Food Network for proving that the Worst Cooks in America are those forced to follow recipes. I’ve been saying it for years! I’ve seen it in my cooking school, and I hear it from thousands that also know it’s true. I’m thankful to have the MTV of food finally admitting it in their programming.

Worst Cooks in America is starting to confuse me more than Jenn Vecchio with half a fig. “You’re reading it off a recipe card and just going blindly”, Jenn explains. It can’t be her fault that she doesn’t know what “done” looks like because she’s relying solely on the written recipe.

The show is supposed to be about duplicating a Chef Beau or Chef Ann dish to fool restaurant critics. If so, why the heavy reliance on written recipes? Why not teach them how to cook in the STYLE of Chef Beau?

There are constant recipe problems in week 4, but the contestants are left to figure it out themselves.
“I don’t know what to do”, laments Marque. “Why is it doing this”? It’s all critique from the chefs, there’s no help, no secrets of WHY something is happening or HOW it’s supposed to look. Yet, everything is about the written recipe, someone else’s’ opinion of how something should be cooked.

However, it all changed when the six survivors of sauté were told they could invent their own crostini.
Eyes widened, mouths smiled at the sudden freedom they were given. “I’m already thinking of great flavors in my head”, says Jennifer Cross, revealing the inspiration that would be her savior, despite a complete logistical and emotional boil-over.

The artistic interpretation of flavors in her head was the best dish of the day. Her problems came from the pressures of following a recipe under time constraints. She couldn’t hang with the time-task that’s mandated to increase the emotion for the cameras, but blew them away with her art.

For a moment, a small part of the show had realized a goal for me. In a blink of an eye, it showed the excitement, confidence, and superior results of making up your own recipes. It’s a message I’ve been trying to bring to a mass audience for years. Jennifer Cross proved it. Cooking is joyous expression, not jealous competition. It’s accomplished with full heart, not fast clock. Unfortunately, the message was only a blip on a show that doesn’t teach anyone to cook, Worst Cooks in America.

Previous posts about Worst Cooks in America:
Cooking is About Crying and Salt
Worst Cooking Instructors in America
Are You the Worst Cook in America?

By Chef Todd

Cooking Fish, A Rum Recipe from Hawaii

To be a great fish cook, and make up your own recipe for fish using rum, start with a visit to the Koloa Rum Company in Hawaii.

It’s easy to create your own recipe for fish without a recipe book when you’re armed with basic cooking methods. I've got a piece of “Monchung” fish in the refrigerator, a fish I've never heard of before. Even though I've never worked with Monchung fish before, I'm already decided on a sauté procedure for dinner tonight, using this new Hawaiian fish and some local rum to deglaze the pan and add flavor to the pan sauce.

It’s very difficult, and a bit silly to bring your cookbooks with you on vacation. Yes, you can find recipes on the computer, but why spend vacation time surfing indoors when you can do real surfing outdoors?

The best way to learn to cook by method is to start with a basic sauté. There are four elements to consider when writing your own sauté recipe.

1. Protein Product – In this case, it’s the Monchung fish
2. Vegetables/Aromatics – Garlic, Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms
3. Deglazing liquid – Koloa Rum Company Rum
4. Type of Fat – Olive Oil

Now, the steps are always the same, regardless of the protein, aromatics, liquid and fat that you choose, follow the sauté method that I'll demonstrate today.

If you want to create a rum recipe to cook fish, or become a great fish cook
, just remember the four elements of basic sauté. You’ll be able to create a recipe for fish that you’ve never heard of before, using the ingredients you desire, even rum from Hawaii.

Previous posts from Hawaii:
Cutting a Pineapple
Koloa Sunshine Farmers Market
Cook Shrimp in Hawaii
Fish Market on Hawaii
Goat Farm on Hawaii
How to Open a Coconut in Maui

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By Chef Todd

Do You Have an Ostrich Meat Recipe?

Chef Todd Mohr has returned from the farmers market with Ostrich meat. Without an Ostrich meat recipe, he has to use his knowledge of basic cooking methods to prepare ostrich meat for the first time.

“Burn Your Recipes” and Cook Like a Chef at Home with my cooking DVDs!

The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.

By Chef Todd

What Are The Best Cookbooks?

What are the best cookbooks to Chef Todd Mohr? Learn the difference between recipe books and a great cookbook from the chef that teaches cooking without recipes.

“Burn Your Recipes” and Cook Like a Chef at Home with my cooking DVDs!

The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.

By Chef Todd

Chef Todd Makes Beef Bourguignon Recipe!

After having seen Julia and Julie, the movie about how 20-something home cook Julie Powell makes Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon perfectly every time, Chef Todd Mohr decided to create the dish by following the recipe exactly. It's been a long time since Chef Todd has cooked from a recipe, but he'll make an attempt to recreate what Hollywood says can be accomplished on the first try, even without any cooking experience! Will Chef Todd be able to make Beef Bourguignon from the Julia and Julie movie?

By Chef Todd

3 Reasons Recipes Fail You

It's not only Martha Stewart Recipes that don't work. Unless you have a understanding of Basic Cooking Methods, very few recipes will work perfectly every time. Whether Food Network recipes, or the best cookbook recipes, there are inherent variables that make following recipes difficult for the home cook. Chef Todd Mohr will examine some of the shortcomings in Martha Stewart Recipes in today's blog.

“Burn Your Recipes” and Cook Like a Chef at Home with my cooking DVDs!

The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.